The Cincinnati Reds have reportedly reached out to infielder Ji-Man Choi and offered him a deal for 2018. They aren’t the only team that has reached out to the South Korean infielder. The Rays, A’s, Brewers, Marlins, Cubs, Orioles, Twins, Braves, Blue Jays, and White Sox has also offered him a deal.

Update:

Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer noted that maybe things aren’t quite as they appear.

Conflicting info abound, but I’ll say that it makes more sense to me that the Reds haven’t made an offer than that they have.

Original content continued

In both 2016 and 2017, Ji-Man Choi saw time in the Major Leagues, though it was limited to just six games in 2017 with the Yankees. In 2016 he struggled mightily in 54 games with the Angles, hitting just .170/.271/.339. During his six games with the Yankees in 2017 he hit .267/.333/.733.

In Triple-A, playing for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2017, he hit .288/.373/.538 on the season. Over his 87 games played he hit 25 doubles, a triple and 15 home runs. That came along with 39 walks and 86 strikeouts. His strikeout rate was just over 25%, which is a little bit higher than you’d like to see from a 26-year-old in the minors. He did show a good ability to reach base, though. His power also stood out quite a bit.

Ji-Man Choi has spent most of his career playing first base. He’s had some limited action in left field, last playing there in 2016 with the Angels where he played 35 games between the minors and majors.

Does Ji-Man Choi make sense for the Cincinnati Reds?

According to the press release from his agency, someone is offering him $1.4M. Now, whether that’s a minor league deal where the money is guaranteed if he makes the Majors is unknown – but I can’t imagine it being a guaranteed deal given his track record. If the deal were guaranteed on a Major League deal, I believe he would have already signed that deal.

It’s tough to see where the Reds would offer him a Major League deal at this point. Being a backup first baseman and possible back up left fielder just doesn’t provide enough versatility.  He has an unproven Major League bat. Using him as what essentially would be a pinch hitter would seem risky. What Ji-Man Choi could bring, though, is depth for the Major League team to cover first base if something were to happen with Joey Votto and they needed a fill-in. He would also provide a nice bat in the lineup in Triple-A, offering power that the Bats have seemingly been missing for quite a few years.

20 Responses

  1. Wes Mantooth

    If he can just replicate this 6 game torrid run w. the yanks last year, we may be able to order the rings early for 2018

    This franchise is run by hilarious, incompetent losers

    • Doug Gray

      Wait – because they may have offered a guy a minor league contract they are run by incompetent losers?

    • Greenfield Red

      He was good enough to play for the Yankees last year. Other than the Reds, it looks like 10 other teams have offered contracts.

      Kind of makes me think you just want to take any opportunity to pile on the Reds.

      • Wes Mantooth

        Yeah, offering a million+ to a player with a career negative WAR is a solid investment .

        I bet the other teams offering this guy a deal dont have the number of glaring needs the reds do.

        Other teams made offers too? That’s great for them. Other teams also advance in the postseason. too bad the reds cant do that too

      • Doug Gray

        You seem to have a reading comprehension issue, here. Nowhere does it say the Reds made that offer. It says that some team has reportedly made that offer.

    • Wes Mantokth

      I think you have a logic comprehension problem. He made 700k last year. He’s got an offer for 1.3. What do you think the avg offer would be? A million+

      • Doug Gray

        I’d be surprised if anyone guaranteed him a big league deal at all. Why? Because he’s been terrible in the big leagues for his career and he’s a 27-year-old first baseman.

        Minor League contracts for free agents can and often are presented like this: You get $125,000 for the year if you are in the minors. If you make the team out of the spring, you get $1.2M. That’s likely what is going on here (he may get more than the $125,000 – though I doubt it). He simply doesn’t have the kind of bargaining power. And he didn’t get anywhere near $700,000 last year. He made that, pro-rated for his time in the big leagues, which was all of two weeks (so he made about $60,000 in those two weeks). Once he was outrighted, he saw his payscale go back to whatever his contract was before that – probably something in the $30-100K for the entire year range.

    • Hingle McCringleberry

      Well said sir. Somehow others think they’re the most brilliant minds ever.

  2. Piggly Wiggly

    I went to Krogers to get some milk and low and behold, there were photos of Dick Williams and Bob Castellini on the jugs of milk.
    Could possibly be a black MIA flag flying above 100 Nuxhall Way.
    The Walt Jocketty Stand Pat virus has infected this front office. Paralysis has set in.

    • Doug Gray

      Look around the league. No one is signing anyone. This isn’t the Reds not doing much. No one at all is doing much.

  3. Simon cowell

    It is indeed a strange off season with the lack of free agent signings. There are still a few big names out there to be had and the longer the collective wait the lower the salaries. I am not certain what is causing the delay in signings. Either teams are all suddenly cash conscious, the younger guys are looking like better deals, or if the international markets are changing how teams handle free agents.

    • Doug Gray

      I think there’s a lot of things at play. Teams are starting to wise up on signing guys in their 30’s to long-term deals. Teams have also seemed to have figured out the longer you wait, the less money guys will take. That may not apply to the highest of end free agents, but for 95% of the guys out there – wait them out. This year is a down year for free agents and next year is an insane year for free agents. Teams are looking at next year, this year. Set it up for 2019, at least the big markets. Harper, Machado and company will be there – don’t go all out now in a weak class if you’re going to really make a run at those guys.

      Of course, that doesn’t explain the crazy spending on relievers. That market is wild, at least in my opinion.

  4. MK

    Collusion seems to be a common term on the nightly news might baseball be seeing it again in the Free Agent Market?

    Not seeing what Choi adds to mix.

    • victor vollhardt

      As usual—- MK makes a very strong, valid point on the collusion issue and if the lack of signings continues through the first couple of weeks of January I believe the player’s union will start to say the same thing. A lot of new, younger people running clubs that were in lower grade school (or not even born yet) and some new ownership as well and all of these guys are “Smart” as all the news stories tell us, but maybe they don’t know the history of the game or even worse figure they can beat the system. As for Choi –he was not impressive when he was with the Angels(I live in Southern CA)and he looked to be out of shape.

      • Colorado Red

        May not be collusion. Just players have not dropped there ridiculous demands. JD for example 7 years 210 Mil for a have season of results.
        Doubt there is collusion, just Scott being Scott.

    • Billy

      I’ll concede that collusion is a possibility, but I think it is very unlikely the explanation for what is happening. I think it is much more likely that teams are just getting smarter about how they build their rosters.

      You only have 25 spots on the roster, and that doesn’t leave a lot of room for dead weight. For the most part, when you sign a guy to a long-term deal, you do so knowing that he’s going to under-perform that contract in the later years. I think teams are becoming more cognizant of future risk and are seeing that the value in those last few roster spots may be the difference between them making the playoffs or not.

      I was looking at the ZIPS Projections on fangraphs the other day. I didn’t save it, but if you looked at the top 13 hitters and the top 12 pitchers, the Reds compared favorably with the Pirates and Brewers, projected to be within 2-3 games of them. (The Cardinals were about 9 wins better, and the Cubs’ projections haven’t been released yet.) When you look at everyone ZIPS projects though, the Reds are well behind everyone else in the division. (Now, I realize that ZIPS is giving you full season projections, and many of those guys will never see that kind of playing time.
      That’s beside the point.) The point is, getting value out of those last roster spots is critically important, and every time someone gets hurt or needs to work something out in the minors, you’ve got to go down that list and give the next man up some playing time. That costs you wins. And if a bad contract is clogging up one of those 25 roster spots, it just makes it that much harder.

      Beyond that, who do you want to go out and sign? Do you feel comfortable with Lorenzo Cain for the next 5 years? Did you really want to pay for 3 years of Cozart? We’re not going to be in the running for Yu Darvish or Jake Arrieta, so what marginal upgrade to you feel comfortable committing a roster spot to for the next 2-4 years or more? I just don’t see a good fit (at least for the Reds) in this year’s free agent market.

      MAYBE you can take a flier on Jarrod Dyson for 2 years since you don’t really have anything near ready for CF, but that’s about all I see. Waiting until Cain signs and letting the price drop seems prudent in that situation. I’m not sure I’d want to do it, but I could at least see the logic there.

  5. Slice

    I wonder how terrible season ticket sales are going? Also, if poor Louisville doesnt contend in the International League, look out for a new affiliation there soon. We must win this season before the next slew of good players we have must be traded!

    • Doug Gray

      I’m sure that season ticket sales are at a low point, for at least the last 8 years or so. They have to be, right?

  6. Michael B. Green

    In other news, I like the chances of improvement in the Reds bullpen. Iglesias and Peralta are established. If the Reds decide to convert Cody Reed to the pen, that is another lights out lefty. Shackelford looked very good in Sep.

    From there, you see if Lorenzen starts or relieves and see what you get from Hughes. I also like the potential of Weiss, Herget and Rainey although they may start at AAA (Weiss and Herget) and AA (Rainey). I think all three are pitching in the bigs by the second half of the season though.

    If only one of the three rookies impresses, we’re looking at a much-improved pen. If Rookie Davis is converted to a reliever, and perhaps Keury Mella as well, we could soon have an embarrassment of riches out of the pen.

    If DeSclafani pitches to form, Castillo continues to shine and Mahle develops into a major leaguer, Cinci is on its way.

    That takes a lot of pressure off of Romano, Stephenson and Garrett too. At least one of those three talented hurlers may establish themselves too.

    While you cannot count on Bailey, he is due to deliver. Otherwise, Cinci could make a real run at one of the following 2018-2019 free agents to bolster the staff (Corbin, Keuchel, Matt Moore, Martin Perez, Pomeranz, Gio Gonzalez). Perez is either hurt or signed an extension though.

    Of course, I have not yet mentioned former 1st round pick Brandon Finnegan. He could fit nicely into the rotation or the pen.

    The pitching-rich Reds? Who knew?!?

    • IndyRedsFan

      I think we’ll see Jackson Stephens pitching out of the pen also….and pitching well.